Hot weather (well it was hot earlier in the week) means great flavour in our summer fruit. However, extreme heat will cut down some of the shelf life.
Extreme heat has damaged the very heat sensitive lines such as leafy greens so I have kept these out of your box. Salads will be a very good option this week with cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce / salad leaves plentiful and good value. Salads will keep you out of the kitchen for a few nights and I also added a few stir fry ingredients as these are a quick dinner.
Grapes – good quality grapes from down south have arrived with a vengeance, bigger bunches, sweeter to eat and best of all far cheaper than earlier in Jan.
Plums – your variety is King Midas plum. They are distinguishable by their golden yellow skin and flesh, and are deliciously sweet and juicy with a honey profile. Grown in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria these are a relatively new variety for Australia originating in California. They are named after King Midas They are named after King Midas whose touch turned everything to gold.
Bananas –are loving the recent rainfall and high humidity in Far North Queensland, which means we’re expecting excellent quality in good volumes.
Apples – Apple season has started and Galas are the first apple variety. Very good quality but expensive as apples have been scarce for a few months so early season apples are fetching a higher price than usual at this time of the year. Galas are crispy and juicy but tend to turn floury after being exposed to warm air, so best stored in the fridge.
Plunkett Orchards is a family business that has evolved over four generations. Carl and Hannah Lenne started growing fruit in 1889 in Ardmona, Northern Victoria. Today, Carl and Hannah’s great-grandson Andrew Plunkett manages the family business, growing fruit across 195 hectares and packing fresh fruit that is now shipped across Australia and overseas. Plunkett Orchards produces apples, pears and apricots that are picked between November and May each year. They grow the following apple varieties – Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, Sundowner, Kanzi and Rocket.
Peaches + Nectarines – all peaches and nectarines are at their absolute peak for flavour, quality and price. Lowana, one of my preferred stonefruit grower had only picked white varieties this week.
Dinner idea: On those nights it’s too hot to cook, try this fresh, light salad Chicken, Peach + Avocado Salad
Sweet Potatoes – the quality of potatoes coming from the heat-affected areas of Victoria and South Australia was great. Sweet potato is mostly grown in sunny QLD and holds up to the QLD climate well and was a better choice.
Dinner idea: Warm Sweet Potato Salad; roast diced sweet potato and toss with your choice of baby spinach leaves or mesclun leaves, green beans, cucumber, avocado, cheese – goats, fetta or blue; chickpeas, crispy prosciutto or bacon. Serve with steak.
Corn – Summer is when we get some fantastic corn and is extremely resilient to the heat. It was probably the vegie bargain of the week.
Dinner idea: When the weather gets warm, grilled corn on the cob is mandatory. Sweet and crunchy with a bit of smokey char, what could be better? It’s also the most effortless BBQ side dish ever; plonk corn on the BBQ, serve with butter! I think the best way to grill corn is with the husk removed, and on the grills rather than directly on the charcoal or heat source. Brush with melted butter while it’s on the BBQ. This does two things; adds a buttery flavour, and helps get extra char on the corn because the butter conducts heat. If short for time you can semi cook the corn first in the microwave. Cook a steak at the same time and serve with a green salad.
Zucchini – thrives in summer so in plentiful supply and good value.
Your zucchinis were grown in Sutton Forest by Dahegam Fresh Produce. If you are ever down in the Southern Highlands for a weekend and the farmers markets are on, you will probably meet Ike selling his zucchinis. Ike loves operating his family business, where everyone has a role to play, even their little grandkids, who love to take a walk through the zucchini fields and especially tasting all of the delicious food made with the zucchinis! Their main produce is the zucchinis, but during the off-season, they also produce other vegetables on a smaller scale, such as pumpkins, cabbage and broccolini.
Dinner idea: raw zucchini tossed in dressing makes a great way to serve your veggies. Try this Zucchini, Snow Pea + Almond Salad or Marinated Zucchini Salad are two good options.
Snake beans – I always try to keep the boxes seasonal and if there was one veg that I noticed in the markets this week was snake beans. They were everywhere which is a good indication that it is peak season and they are good value. Stir-fries are quick and easy in this weather. -Grown in the Sydney Basin from one of the Asian market gardens.
Dinner idea: if you think the kids will turn their noses up try this recipe with kid friendly hoisin sauce or this one with oyster sauce + soy
Cucumbers continue to be of great value. Local cucumbers from the Kemps Creek area.
Dinner idea: for humid nights try this quick and refreshing Vietnamese-Style Beef + Vermicelli Salad.
Capsicum – are struggling in the heat so I brought glass house-grown as the quality is better.
Dinner idea: Fire up the bbq for Lamb, Capsicum + Onion Skewers. Serve w a green salad.
Snow Peas – good quality around. Versatile to use in stir-fries and salads as well as being quick to prepare.
Grown by Select Produce who started in 1996 growing only snow peas and sugar snap peas and have supplied over 4 million kilograms of peas since they began. They supply all year round from spring to autumn from South Gippsland and in winter from Bundaberg and Wanneroo.
Dinner idea: I have loads of stir fry ideas on my Pinterest board
Beans – in these hotter months they are sourced from Tasmania as our traditional mainland farm areas just get hotter and hotter. I went with handpicked beans for the quality.
Dinner idea: A combination of green beans + tinned cannellini beans keeps this salad simple and easy. The recipe suggests serving with lamb cutlets but you can serve with any meat, chicken or sausages.
Broccolini – was very good value and perfect to add to a stir fry with the snake beans and snow peas snaps.
Dinner idea: I have loads of stir fry ideas on my Pinterest board
Tomatoes – tomatoes are coming from so many different regions at the moment, still, a bit from Queensland, a lot out of Victoria and South Australia and the prices have plummeted.
Dinner idea: Tomato Salsa w Fish, serve w roasted sweet potato or bean. Some tomato salsa combinations for you are:
- Tomatoes, onion, parsley, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil
- Tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, shallots, long red chilli, coriander, lime juice
- Tomatoes, capers, olives, parsley, red wine vinegar
Finely dice ingredients and toss together.
OUT OF SEASON
Mangoes – Kensington Pride, our main eating mango has finished for the season with the exception of one growing area around Rockhampton but this isn’t a great growing area and I don’t think they are good eating quality. Late season varieties; Honey Gold and Calypso are around but these are licensed varieties. This is where a grower buys the plant breeders’ rights to the variety and restricts who grows and who sells them. When they are at the markets I will try to grab some.
When there is produce in your box that isn’t a staple like potatoes, carrots, broccoli I will provide links to recipes via my Pinterest account to give you inspiration. I try to give you easy, everyday recipes as I know there is often not a lot of time to cook dinner.
BROCCOLINI – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
SWEET POTATO – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
SNAKE BEANS – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board